BRISTOW Helicopters has called for external investigators to carry out an audit of its operations in the country, to complement the one the Nigerian Civil Aviation Authority (NCAA) has already launched into the flight activities of the airline.
The on-going audit by the NCAA followed the second air mishap involving another Sikorsky helicopter from the airline’s fleet on February 3, this year after the earlier one in August last year also from the Sikorsky model.
Bristow in statement by one of its media officers, Cornelius Onuoha made it very clear that the call for external auditors to examine its operations alongside the mandatory one embarked on by NCAA, is not for lack of confidence in the civil aviation regulator, which it vowed to cooperate with and offer all assistance necessary for it to carry out a thorough audit.
The airline also urged the NCAA to extend its audit to other airlines operating in the oil and gas sector with a view to sharing the fall outs from their investigations. “Furthermore, but without prejudice to the ongoing investigations, Bristow welcomes an industry led external audit of its operations in Nigeria, with the expectation that such initiative will also extend to include the audit of other similar entities active in the Nigerian oil and gas industry, such that any findings can be shared laterally across all operators to further enhance safety”, the statement said.
The airline also said it is extending similar cooperation to the Accident Investigation Bureau which is conducting investigations into the cause or causes of the mishap. “Safety underpins the company’s core values and the company supports the NCAA’s audit of its operation of the Sikorsky S76 fleet and the investigation by the Nigerian Aircraft Investigation Bureau (NAIB) into the incident on 3 February, 2016”, it said
The firm commended the performance of its pilots that safely ditched the S76C++ Sikorsky chopper carrying nine passengers and two crew in the Atlantic Ocean, 95 nautical miles to Lagos early this month.
The airline particularly praised the bravery rarely displaced by the female captain who directed the ditching.
The airline described the female captain as blessing to the sector who all Nigerians should be proud of. “The Captain, the first Nigerian female helicopter commander, performed admirably and remains an important member of the Bristow team,” said the firm.
While lauding the high professionalism displayed by the firm said, “The all Nigerian crew (the Captain and the First Officer) of Bristow S76C++ helicopter (5N-BQJ), which executed a precautionary landing on 3 February, 2016, were recruited and trained locally in Nigeria and also at the Bristow Academy in Titusville, Florida, in the United States, in accordance with Bristow’s training program. Bristow’s training program fully complies with the regulatory requirements of both the Nigerian Civil Aviation Authority (NCAA) and international standards.”